If you’re traveling to Walt Disney World during the holidays you’ll notice a few things that may have you wondering when the “vacation” part of your vacation will start. (P.S. it won’t!) This time of year has more crowds, more families, more fights, more everything. You will need to get away. One of our absolute favorite parts about the holidays so far has been seeing the decorations at the Disney Resorts. We often take time to escape the parks for a meal, tea or just to get away from the crowds. Here are a couple things you can expect to find at the resorts during the Christmas season.
Disney Resorts Christmas Decorations through the Holidays
Decorations at the Disney Deluxe Resorts are put up around the 3rd week of November to coincide with Epcot’s International Festival of Holidays. For the most part everything is usually completely up and ready for the week of Thanksgiving. We’re pretty sure this timing is the same every year, so if you’re planning for a resort decoration crawl, plan it before the crowds arrive at Walt Disney World after Thanksgiving.
Visiting the Walt Disney World Resorts During the Holidays
While you can tackle the Disney resort decorations crawl any way you like. If you want to take a day away from the parks, this is our best path around the Disney Resorts for the most Holiday Fun.
Start at Magic Kingdom and Visit the Monorail Resorts
1. Contemporary Resort Holiday Decorations
Disney’s Contemporary Resort kept up its annual tradition of setting up a themed gingerbread house right behind the Fantasia shop in the monorail courtyard. While not hard to find if you walk around a bit it’s easy to miss if you’re not looking for it. Next to the display you’ll find a sign withe fun facts and how many hidden mickeys you can hunt for. Tip: The hidden mickeys on all the holiday decorations seem to be tiny gold mickey head stickers or actually carved into the gingerbread. You’ll also find a small station where you can purchase little gingerbread snacks and other treats to hold you over until your next stop.
2. The Polynesian Resort and Villas Holiday Decorations
The Polynesian features an island inspired Christmas tree near the gift shop on the first floor. As you can see this is not a two story tree, but still quite beautiful, and matches the decor around the rest of the resort.
3. Grand Floridian Resort Gingerbread House and Christmas Tree
The Grand Floridian Resort really embraces the holidays with a floor to ceiling tree and a life sized gingerbread house that takes 2 months to put together. You can typically plan to see the gingerbread house by the second week of November, the tree, however doesn’t make its debut until Thanksgiving week along with the other resort decorations. The gingerbread house is home to a very small gingerbread shop which is inside the gingerbread house, staffed by two workers. Keep an eye out for the hidden mickeys and the smoke billowing out of the chimney. You can buy a gingerbread shingle here for 9 dollars, big enough for two to share. The tree is decorated with swans and bird cages and all things gold and pink.
Transfer at the TTC on the Monorail to Epcot
Once at Epcot, you can walk back to the International Gateway in the World Showcase and visit the Disney Boardwalk. Here you will find The Boardwalk Inn and The Beach and Yacht Club.
4. The Boardwalk Inn | Disney Boardwalk Epcot
Found on the Boardwalk, The Boardwalk Inn is attached to Epcot World Showcase and features a mini gingerbread house village featuring the storefronts on the Boardwalk. Inside this display you’ll see Mickey cooking up a storm. A small table with gingerbread snacks for sale sits right across from the display in the main section of the inn.
5. The Beach Club | Disney Boardwalk Epcot
If you’ve never been to the Beach Club, its time to stop by. This O’hana inspired carousel features Lilo and Stitch. You’ll notice the first hidden mickey is easy to find on the ingredients podium. The carousel is set right in the middle of the lobby area and the first thing you see when you enter the resort.
Head Back to Magic Kingdom, via Monorail.
Once back at Magic Kingdom you can catch the boat to Wilderness Lodge.
6. The Wilderness Lodge
Disney’s Wilderness Lodge is absolutely gorgeous on any normal day, so add a 4 story tree to the lobby, and it quickly becomes our favorite place to be and an absolute must-see tree during the holidays. Tip: Plan for a lunch at Roaring Fork or a meal at Whispering Canyon Cafe or Geyser Point Bar and Grill to make the visit a little more substantial. The tree is decorated in native american ornaments, all things bear, moose, camping, and anything great outdoors.
Take the boat back to Magic Kingdom and grab a bus to Animal Kingdom Lodge. There are two parts to Animal Kingdom Lodge. The tree is located at the Jambo House.
7. Animal Kingdom Lodge Jambo House
Definitely one of our favorite resorts, Animal Kingdom Lodge dresses up for the holidays like nothing you’ve seen. The large tree, decorated with handicrafts, and animal images is able to be admired while making ornament crafts in the lounge and listening to seasonal music. If you venture down to Kidani Village you’ll see the smaller tree featured at the top of this post, and get the chance to hear carolers in the evenings in the lobby. This resort is such a great escape from the park crowds and seeing it decorated to the nines was a nice treat. Tip: If you venture to the 5th floor you can get access to the bridge and a better view of the tree.
Visit the Disney Resorts During the Holidays
While these resorts are definitely favorites of ours for decorations, you can also catch decorations at practically all the resorts. Whether you’re trying to pack in all the things or just have a fun filled family Christmas at Disney, we definitely recommend taking a tiny break to see some of the resorts we share here. The downtime will probably be much needed. Enjoy!